Gidley: NSW utility selection a gamble

Former NSW captain Kurt Gidley says the bench utility spot for Origin is a contentious one but has backed Dylan Walker to make an impact in Game I.

Manly five-eighth Walker will come off the pine for the Blues in Sydney tomorrow. Walker has played most of his NRL football as a centre, and sometimes fullback, with South Sydney.

Gidley, who played 12 Origins, was one of NSW’s best utilities along with Craig Wing.

Now with Warrington, the 33-year old believes the decision to select a specialist utility or go with four forwards is a gamble either way.

The pick of debutant Walker was the most surprising by Blues coach Laurie Daley for Game I.

“It it a pretty specific role,” Gidley told Love Rugby League.

“opu’ve got to be able to play obviously anywhere in ithe backline, you certainly need to be able to play hooker as well, which is a pretty tough gig in Origin that’s for sure.

“If a hooker goes down… it’s a gamble for any coach to go with four forwards.

“The series that NSW won recently Laurie went with four forwards for the three games and it worked. Four big blokes on the bench.

“But it’s certainly a gamble. Walker will bring some spark to the field when he comes on, that’s for sure.”

Queensland have won nine of the past 10 Origin series and are coming off a huge defeat of NSW in Game III.

The Blues were embarassed 52-6 in the decider at Suncorp.

According to Gidley, that match won’t have much of a bearing on tomorrow’s encounter.

“The result last year, that’s 12 months ago,” he said.

“Most of the players that I know wil be looking towards the future and at their next game. I don’t think a game 12 months ago will have an impact on Game I.

“The first game’s obviously important to get off to a good start. The series is always pretty good for the team who wins the first game.

“I’m sure last year’s result in Game III won’t have anything to do with the result in Game I this time.”

Gildey played Origin from 2007 to 2011. He came up against the nucleus of the current Marrons side that remains the core today.

Gildey agrees this Queensland team is the greatest in the history of State of Origin.

“The stats show that,” he said.

“They’ve had the majority of the Australian team, probably the best hooker to have played the game.

“They’ve had Inglis, Cronk, Thurston and Billy Slater outside of that. It’s been an amazing run and just amazing timing I suppose for all those guys to come through at the same time and be in the same team.”

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